There’s nothing worse than that feeling of tossing and turning all night.
Recent statistics show that an estimated 1.5 million Australians aged 20 years and over struggle to get off at night — leading the big question. Why?
There’s actually a weird reason you might not be getting the kip you need — and thankfully, it’s easier to fix than you might think.
According to sleep specialist Dr Justin Hundloe, one of the major reasons most of us aren’t getting enough sleep is because of Netflix.
“It’s so easy to get hooked on a new show and stay up late binge watching Netflix from your bed,” he told news.com.au.
“But what this can do is create a link in your subconscious between your bed and being awake consuming content, rather than sleeping.
“This can make it increasingly difficult for your mind to relax and allow you to fall asleep when you get into bed to go to sleep, resulting in a disrupted night’s sleep.”
In fact, the sleep medicine specialist from GenesisCare Australia said our “sleep environment” plays an important part in getting those all important hours of rest.
“It is very important that you avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep or sex, and instead stick to the lounge if you want to stay up late bingeing your new favourite show,” Dr Justin said.
“Sometimes a person can feel exhausted, but will lay in bed unable to sleep. This can be due to a sub-optimal sleep environment that prevents their body from being able to fall asleep or achieve a deep sleep, which allows the body to rest.”
But not getting sleep can have detrimental consequences on your body, Dr Justin explains.
“Many sleep disorders are also strongly connected to cardiovascular disease (CVD), with poor sleep quality potentially causing or contributing to CVD, and CVD also potentially disturbing sleep.
He added that a poor night’s sleep is also associated with stress, illness and poor health.
While changes to your routine such as shift work or long working hours, travel and jet lag are all common factors that can lead to disrupted sleep, Dr Justin believes the major problem is a person’s sleep environment.
Luckily, Dr Justin said there are several simple things that you can do to help create an ideal sleep environment, which may lead to a better night’s sleep. Hooray.
Here are his top tips to help you get a better night’s sleep on World Sleep Day:
• Go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning
• Refrain from taking naps during the day
• Go to bed only when you are drowsy
• Avoid caffeine and alcohol within six hours of bedtime
• Avoid the use of nicotine close to bedtime or during the night
• Obtain regular exercise, but avoid strenuous exercise four hours before bedtime
• Avoid eating a heavy meal late in the day
• Minimise light, noise and extreme temperatures in the bedroom
• Do something to help you relax. Read a book, listen to music, or take a bath
• Avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep or sex
• Try making a to-do list before you go to bed. This will prevent “Worry Time”
• Avoid clock watching
• If you have ongoing sleep issues seek professional medical advice